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colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

Article about: Here is an image of a Waffen SS Panzer ace from what appears to be 1943, and one plainly sees the tell tale colored piping on his cap. An image intended to irritate purists. This image is fr

  1. #11

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    My point is a simple one. The plethora of dated photographs of the Waffen SS armor figures from the Bundesarchiv, many of which seem to have been taken in 1943, add a small point of data to what is otherwise one of the most self licking ice cream cones of the collector demimonde. I have now looked at all the images in the Bundesarchiv files from 1928 until 1946, and they generally seem to be more or less correct in their dates. There are some errors, but not many that I can see. Less so from Koblenz/Berlin than in the Ullstein site and the preussischer Kulturbesitz site, either. Such archival material also belongs in the weighing of such evidence and collectors who aspire to be better than average should learn to use these images in a disciplined way. Without wanting to put too fine a point on it, I have had some professional engagement in this discipline (archives) since the middle 1970s and feel some conviction in my generalization.

    Mr. Stonemint is correct that to generalize from a handful of grey SS caps without any sense of the craft of headwear in central Europe from, say, 1800 until 1960, is to blunder around in the dark.

    But I added these images for the purposes of historical evidence and not to restart the same circular debates as befoul other websites.

    damit, basta.

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  3. #12

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    I also believe that color-piped visor hats were purchased throughout the war. If having an individualized piece makes a soldier feel better, few front-line commanders would eschew that small infraction. There is a sense of individuality, combined with that feeling of the 'whole' that makes fighting men a special breed. Each wishes to stand out, but each feels that the unit is above each individual. A dichotomy that many would not understand if never in a tight knit group that rely on each other for survival.

    Visor hats were made by huge concerns as well as smaller tailors. There is much to learn and it is a quasi-scientific approach that makes determination as much an art as a science.

    I like to think that our fellow collector, Stonemint, has the proper perspective in studying headgear: all you have to do is examine it all to know it all; until then, we are mere students learning our craft.

    Bob Hritz
    I am seeking Golden Party Badge # 77578, Luftwaffe blue summerweight flight pants, used Geschwader Immelmann officer's cuff title.

  4. #13

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    I also wager that some of things we hanker after were made in the rear area of the Russian front by craftsmen there. There are enough images of the rear area in Weissrussland and Ukraine where the local tradespeople are advertising for the clothing trade of the occupying forces. Such is very normal in the so called Etappe, and the examples in western Europe are also legion.

    Gun show lore as well as the pronouncements of some self appointed experts that extrapolate from this gun show lore do not advance the state of knowledge very far, indeed.

    For those who are not deterred by the chewings of winged vermin, the relics of the reich has a nice wartime extra wear cap from Freiburg at a sane price. It is actually a handsome piece aside from its moth damage...maybe Ben VK could fix it. But it has nice insignia that have a lot of the neusilber finish and the interior has a maker name, indicating a tailored piece ca. 1941 or later. I think the Zimmermann cap badge is from then, too.
    damit, basta.

  5. #14

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    There is no doubt in my mind that an industry grew up in the rear occupied countries supporting the needs of the German Military. Aboout ten years ago, I purchased a grouping of material that belonged to SS Obergruppenfuhrer Friedrich Wilhelm Kruger. It included a silver Sauer 7.65 engraved pistol with a dedication from his brother Walter, some personal papers and a hand embroidered eagle and totenkopf that had been removed from his field cap by the GI who brought it back. The eagle's wing length was not much broader than that of the totenkopf. It was also mounted on a T formed backing cloth. In comparison to normal SS hat insignia, the proportions were way off. It was likely made in Poland during Krueger's tenure there. Without the provenance from the vet who took these things from the trunk of the car Krueger came in to surrender in, the piece would be written off at as a poor fake. What was sad was the vet found all of these things in Kreugers brief case. He kept only three or four documents out of a brief case full of his complete dossier and threw the rest away. He also had Krueger's cap and stored it in his attic unprotected where moths feasted on it. He cut off the insignia and tossed the cap.
    Once again, as Herr Berthold says, we have much still to learn as in the case of these rare piped caps. Without documentation, we may never know when and if piped caps were produced after the order to cease. Photographic evidence does reinforce the validity of the wear of such caps long after the ban. The only fact we do have is original examples are extremely rare leading one to believe that the wear of newer manufactured piped caps was likely the exception in lieu of the norm.


  6. #15

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    Thank you for the further data. I think the Arndt volumes that treat the Russian campaign (there are three volumes of colored images, some from Signal and others from the PK Kompanien in other roles and missions) do contain scenes of Kiew or wherever, where tailors advertise for the German military trade.

    Also, in the sense of the dog that did not bark, in looking quickly through the on line Bundesarchiv RFSS files ( to which I refer in another thread of today) as they pertain to uniforms, there is no extra and explicit order after 1940 scolding troops not to wear colored piping on their caps, either. Elsewhere is a complete list of all RFSS orders in their number, as well as a breakdown of what in German is called Schriftverkehr, but in the relevant sections I saw nothing. So this negative evidence suggests that such a thing was not a high priority in the midst of war. One can easily see what mattered to Heini H. who was otherwise a micro manager of the most egregious sort. This being said, I cannot claim to have read all the documents, but I did read 85% of the on line finding aid last night, which itself is an astonishing document. This finding aid is only part of the SS holdings in the Bundesarchiv and there may be other places where relevant evidence could be found. But my coup d' oeil failed to turn up something on this score. Others have all the SS Befehlsblaetter at hand. One day all of it will be digitalized, but the finding aid, itself, is a real miracle.

    What there surely is a lot of effort to find raw materials as the war continued as well as issues of the design of field uniforms, especially the origins of the camouflage uniform. There is also discussion of the evening monkey jacket as well as other interesting details. But nothing about this hobby horse of certain dogmatists and doctrinaire figures, who are obsessed with regulations at the expense with the full record of the past.
    damit, basta.

  7. #16

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    I shall print out the page on uniforms and what not and translate what is there and include it here, if someone cares. That is, the thematic headings. I cannot figure out how to append these electronic pages here, but maybe Adrian S. could help me. They are worth looking at. I sent friend d'Alquen an example, and I hope his examination of these files, with which he is already familiar, will bring forth things that I cannot see.

    There is also relevant material on the raw material headings of the files in the relevant sections, where the SS is engaged in a smash and grab of textiles all over occupied Europe to which Mollo makes ample reference in his vol. VI.

    This being said, the thing with archives of a large bureaucratic organization is one has to look in many places, made all the more exciting by the collapse of Soviet control of eastern Europe and the rise of many archives there that one did not know existed when Mollo wrote his books, or, at least, one could not use these archives.
    damit, basta.

  8. #17

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    Here on the theme of headwear, a hero of the front with what appears to be the alu wire embroidered Totenschaedel from a collar patch. The man in question: Hans Georg von Charpentier. His face bears the mark of war in the year 1942.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    damit, basta.

  9. #18

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    To beat further the tom tom of Waffenfarben in den mittleren Kriegsjahren, Ernst Johann Tetsch here does not seem to have heeded the order to turn in the cap piped in Rosarot, either. Quite the central casting image of the Waffen SS Panzerfuehrer, indeed.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    damit, basta.

  10. #19

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    Here is Bochmann without a cap in his grey uniform.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    damit, basta.

  11. #20

    Default Re: colored piping on cap, 1943...Sturbannfuehrer Bochmann

    I once owned what I consider now to be an exceptionaly rare cap indeed. I'm sure most of you have seen it already but it's worth posting again. Not only was it piped for KZ personnel, it was an NCO's cap but maker marked as well. I studied the cap and researched the subject for many hours/days. The shade of piping, coffee brown, IMO, could only have been for KZ. It matched other KZ piped items such as shoulderboards positively ID'd by reliable sources plus the shoddy reprocessed wool along with the leather substitute sweatband would I think, persuade most people that it could not realistically have been made pre mid 1942 when the only shade of brown was for Reconnaissance, which is a darker brown anyway.
    In any case, the cap was real IMO. I could find not one stitch in it that caused me concern but what I find facinating is why anyone would actualy go and request a cap piped to the KZ, from a private maker and that also why, the maker, who is quite well known, would be happy to mark this product. Maybe I'm missing something here that is fundemental in understanding this but I always thought that the German public was kept in the dark about the camps or so they argued post war. But how was that so if garments were being made in factories and small haberdasheries that bore the coloured piping of the camp personnel. Were they told that the piping donoted a different branch at the time or did they know exactly what it meant but chose to ignore it?, a sale is sale and a clothing contract is money in the bank after all.
    The more you imerse into the details, the more questions appear.
    Here's the cap. A truly remarkable one and I bitterly regret selling it now but at the time I desperately needed the money and it got me out of a large financial hole. I guess this is often the case with collectors of SS items with limited funds. The ammounts of money these bits of cloth and leather command is frightening when you actualy sit back and think about it. I can honestly say, I have spent more on individual ss caps in a heartbeat than I would ever consider doing on anything else like a car etc that I would usually spend weeks contemplating on. Needless to say, my close friends and familly think I'm barking mad.
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